African migrants targeted in Jerusalem apartment fire

Two injured in apparent arson near Mahane Yehuda open market

An Eritrean man suffered serious burns and his pregnant partner suffered light injuries from smoke inhalation as their apartment caught on fire, apparently from arson, in Jerusalem early Thursday morning.

The two were rushed to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital for treatment.

Police are investigating the fire in the couple’s tiny apartment near the  Mahane Yehuda open market as a possible hate crime.

The fire closely resembles a similar attack in the same neighborhood a month ago.

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In that attack, grafitti was found scrawled on the apartment telling the foreigners to leave.

Jerusalem is home to a relatively small African migrant population, mostly centered near the market.

Tensions between African migrants and Israeli nationalists intensified over the last several months, culminating in an anti-migrant rally that turned violent in Tel Aviv. In response, the Interior Ministry began cracking down on migrants here illegally, deporting several hundred South Sudanese.

Eritreans are protected as asylum-seekers, though they are not allowed to seek employment.


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